Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday/Advanced Civ

Here's hoping all of you had a good Thanksgiving. Even you foreigners who aren't familiar with Thanksgiving, and Canadians, who celebrate it on the wrong day.

That brings us to my least favorite day of the year, the day after Thanksgiving. In America today is the biggest, busiest shopping day of the year, the oldies channel switches to non-stop Christmas music, and I start arguing with Dame Coldfoot about when to put up the Christmas tree.

Woooo-Hoooo.

The only bright spot is the annual Advanced Civilization game. The plan is to start today at 10:00 a.m. and play until it is over. If the game gets over before midnight we will play a couple other games. Those of you familiar with Advanced Civ are shaking your head, but it is a possibility. The last game of Advanced Civ lasted less than 8 hours. With no timers, I might add.

The winning strategy in our group is well known, but hard to implement. The key to winning is to start with a civilization far from Walt and Bruno (Bruno Sinigaglio to those of you grognards who might know him). About 1/2 way into the game Walt and Bruno get bored and start attacking their neighbors. If those two start adjacent to each other it is much easier on everyone else, but when the game is 3/4 done they both realize they are losing and team up with no purpose other than to cause havoc.

Good times. I can hardly wait.

I have been waiting 18 months to try it, but today I will implement Cavedog's card buying strategy, and report back. I do note that Nate Sandall (Cavedog) doesn't allow for the possibility of sitting next to Walt or Bruno. I may need to modify the strategy to allow for defense against repeated, pointless attacks. Road Building and the Religious advances may play a more important role when facing an opponent who has lost all interest in winning the game.

I also think Nate underestimates the Architecture advance. Being able to pay to build cities out of the treasury is an important advance if you are one of the leaders, and I plan on leading. It also makes calamities much easier to deal with. With Architecture you can easily recover from most calamities, even multiple calamities, in the next round. The Civil War calamity is still a problem, but Civil War is a problem whether or not you have Architecture.

To effectively implement the strategy I suspect I will need to bring a cheat-sheet. Notes are allowed in Civ, aren't they? Doesn't matter. No one playing the game will read this blog until after the game. Most of the people who will be there aren't blog readers anyway.

I've heard of another Civilization strategy that I have never had the opportunity to use for various reasons. It will only work with certain civilizations, and I suspect it is a strategy better suited to regular Civilization due to the limit on number of cards you can hold. But, it goes something like this;

Do not build any cities until you can comfortably build three cities. This may mean not progressing on the progress track for a turn. The next turn build 2 more cities.

This will leave you with a 1, 2, and 3 commodity from the first turn and a 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 commodity from the second turn. That leaves you with a total of eight commodities, the maximum hand size going into the next round. You can trade if you like, there is little chance of drawing a calamity so early in the game.

You will theoretically get 5 more commodities in the next round, and you may be able to found another city or two giving you a couple more commodities. You will have a good hand of at least 13 cards with which to trade and relatively few of those cards will be 1s and 2s. With so many cards to trade early on, you should be able to snag a couple higher value advances early in the game.

This strategy can be adapted to certain civilizations in desert areas (such as Africa) as follows;

Do not build any cities until you can build two. Build one more city on the next turn. Build nothing on the next turn. You will now have the maximum of eight cards, and have (probably) not missed a chance to move up the progress chart. On the next turn build two more cities or even 3 if you can. You will have a lot of 1 and 2 commodities, but you will probably be able to trade off your 4 and 5 commodities for two or three low cards each. With good trades you can end up with a pile of low cards. The exponential value of cards will lead to a good payoff, and, like I said, you shouldn't get held up on the progress chart.

I am more skeptical of that strategy than Cavedog's, but I suppose it sounds alright on its face. It does seem like it is a strategy better suited to regular Civilization, no?

And way down here. Way at the bottom. I will add a small contest to this blog. One geek gold to the person who posts a comment correctly answering this question: How is the value of commodity sets calculated in Civilization?

For example, one "1" value card is worth one point. If you have six "1" cards they are worth thirty-some-odd points. One "2" card is worth two points, six "2" cards are worth seventy-some-odd points.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend,
Coldfoot

5 comments:

oskari said...

Value * Number of cards * Number of cards = value of set

Coldfoot said...

You could say that, or you could say number of cards squared multiplied by the value.

At any rate, I will send off 1 gg to oskari in Finland. It should arrive within 3 days if I send it via air mail.

Ryan Walberg said...

"and Canadians, who celebrate it on the wrong day."

Pray tell, how can you celebrate Thanksgiving on the wrong day?

Chris Farrell said...

Your variant strategy is probably a loser in Classic Civ, although certainly it depends on the group. But being held up on the AST early, when you don't know how things are going to play out, is immensely risky. Unless the endgame becomes a huge conflict-fest, it's extremely likely that someone is going to complete the game without falling back, so you're knocking yourself out of the game in the Stone Age. And even if the end is a bloodbath, you still could see someone cruise without stopping.

In Advanced Civ, falling back a square costs you almost nothing (which is why Egypt and Babylon went from being weaker in Civ to being extremely strong in ACiv). Plus, in ACiv there is very little pressure to acquire Civ cards sooner rather than later (with no restrictions on availability), so your strategy might be more viable for that reason also. In basic Civ, Mysticism (for example) is rather valuable to some nations, and quantities are rather limited.

trimble said...

I'm trying to contact Bruno Sinigaglio. Does anyone have his email? I think I gamed with him in the 1960s in Denver. Thanks,
rayhosler@yahoo.com